As he bid a tearful farewell to Barcelona on Sunday, football superstar Lionel Messi said a move to Paris Saint-Germain was “a possibility.”
It’s been widely reported that Messi has been offered a two-year contract by PSG, though the 34-year-old Argentine said no arrangements had been made with the Parisian giant, nor with any of the other interested clubs regarding his next move.
PSG did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.
Speaking at a media conference in Barcelona, a very emotional Messi entered the room to applause from those in attendance and delivered his final speech as a Blaugrana player, describing it as one of the most difficult moments of his career.
“In these days, in this last day I have been thinking … to see what I was going to say, what I could say,” said Messi.
“The truth is that nothing came out, I was blocked as I am still now. It is very difficult for me after so many years, after making my whole life here. I was not prepared for this.”
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner is leaving Barcelona, having arrived from Argentina at the age of 13.
“Today I have to say goodbye to this, as I said before, it was many years, all my life here. After 21 years I’m going with my wife and three Argentine Catalans. I cannot be prouder of everything I did and lived in this city, which I have no doubt that after being away for a few years we will return because it is our home, because that is how I promised my children too,” Messi added.
Messi is Barcelona’s all-time leading goalscorer for the club – finding the net on 682 occasions – and has won numerous major collective and individual awards, including four Champions League titles and 10 La Liga titles.
“I gave my all for this club for this shirt, from the first day I arrived to the last. And the truth is that I am more than satisfied. I would have liked to say goodbye in a different way. I never imagined my farewell this way,” Messi said.
He continued: “I would have liked to do it with people, in the field, to be able to hear one last ovation from them, one last affection. I missed them a lot during all this time of pandemic which we could not play with the public. I missed that being able to have them close, the encouragement, celebrating a goal with them, let them call my name.”
While both club and Messi had reached an agreement over a new contract, Barcelona’s dire financial situation and La Liga’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations meant it couldn’t be signed.
On Friday, Barcelona President Joan Laporta said “renewing Messi carried certain risks […] but we cannot put the club at greater risk,” Laporta told reporters.
“You have to put feelings aside, you have to look at numbers with a cold head. We wanted La Liga to be more flexible, but this is no excuse. We knew the rules and what we have been left with from the previous board makes it all impossible.
“The club is above everything, even the best player in the world,” added Laporta.
During Sunday’s Q&A session with the media, Messi was asked to comment on the tension around his departure and if Barcelona had done everything within their means to keep their star player for the upcoming season.
“What is clear to me is that I did everything that was possible to stay, the club, Laporta, said that it was not possible due to a La Liga issue, but I heard many things that were said about me, about why I didn’t continue, but I can assure you that I did everything possible to stay,” said Messi.
“Last year I didn’t want to stay and I also said so, but this year I did want to stay and it was not possible,” added Messi.